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"Bravo!" cried Pallet.
"I would encore it," said I; "but, really, Spondee, to hear that song but once is quite sufficient-to attract the universal applause of the auditors; there is a twist -a certain conceit (in the words, not the singer), and a simplicity (in the words, not the singer) that is admirable."
"The praise of the judicious," said Spondee, "is always as welcome as it is well-timed. But, come, Pallet, I call upon you; for you can sing." And this was strictly true, for he not only possessed a fine voice, but was a good musician.
"What shall it be?" said Pallet; "something erotic, or bacchanalian? Let me see; I'll give you the Latin canticle of Walter de Mapes-vinous and vigorous."
"Mihi est propositum in tabernâ mori,
"Poculo accenditur animi lucerna,
Cor imbutum nectare volat ad superna,
"Suum cuique proprium dat natura munus,
"Tales versus facio quale vinum bibo;
"Mihi nunquam spiritus prophetiæ datur
Nisi tunc cum fuerit venter benè satur :
In me Phoebus irruit ac miranda fatur."
"Excellent!" cried Spondee; "and you have married the words to a most appropriate air. I know the verses well, and have done them into English.""
"Is it a literal translation, or a paraphrase?" demanded Pallet.
"Almost verbatim,” replied Spondee.
"Then, of course," said I, "you begin with My eye ? ""
Spondee laughed, and tuning, with another bumper, he commenced,
"I am firmly resolved in a tavern to die;
Ply my lips, when I 'm dying, with genʼrous wine,
"The wine-cup enkindles new light in the mind;
With nectar imbued, the heart heavenward shoots;
'Bove that which the Governor's butler dilutes.
"To each man his gift Nature kindly decrees :
"As the wine is I drink, so the verse I indite :
Unless I've fared well, I can nothing compose;
"And the spirit of prophecy I ne'er attain
Till my belly with feeding is satisfied quite;
We now began to wax very merry, and our interrogatories and replies became rather conflicting; observation jostled against remark, and we made the place ring again with our laughter.
At length, Pallet tapped the third and last bottle, and then volunteered a song of his own composition by way of an appropriate finish, for the sun was fast declining. So, without farther prelude, he quaffed another glass, and sang the following words, calling upon us to join chorus :—
"The lover may sigh for the smiles of the fair,
The warrior burn for the laurel of fame,
But there breathes not the beauty my heart can ensnare,-
Who foolishly bend at their dazzling shrine;
And I laugh,
And I quaff,
And drown all my cares in a goblet of wine!
"How pallid the lover!-how reckless his air,
If fickle the maiden, or should she but frown! And the soldier, cut off in his brilliant career,
What boots it to him that he lives in renown? No, give me the bloom that gay Bacchus bestows;
A crown of vine-leaves round my temples entwine; I'll yield all the scars-even Venus's rose
While Bacchus, my idol, supplies me with wine;
And drown all my cares in a goblet of wine!"